Medical malpractice is a serious health concern in the US. It’s estimated that 250,000 Americans die each year due to medical mistakes, making this form of malpractice the third-leading cause of mortality.
When families and individuals suffer from a healthcare provider’s negligence, it may seem there is no hope of winning a claim against a hospital or medical entity. However, there are factors that demonstrate malpractice occurred and caused harm.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Court
Medical malpractice occurs when a health professional fails to provide reasonable care for a patient, who then experiences suffering, injury, or death as a result of the professional’s actions.
There are several basic requirements to prove medical malpractice occurred.
1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship
First, individuals must demonstrate that there was a physician-patient relationship with the individual or entity being sued. This step usually involves simple paperwork demonstrating you hired the doctor and they agreed to treat you.
The next element required to file a case is negligence. Negligence occurs when a health professional gives inappropriate care.
The simplest way to understand if negligence applies to your case is to consult with other professionals in the field. If most doctors would have treated you differently or would have taken other actions, it is likely your physician did not give you the care required and expected.
Because negligence is so integral in proving a case exists, most victims of malpractice provide medical expert witnessopinions from other professionals in the field to demonstrate a doctor mishandled a situation.
Next, there must be a clear link demonstrating the professional’s actions or lack of actions caused the injury in question. This can be a tricky process that requires expert knowledge and careful navigation.
Oftentimes, it is difficult to prove a health professional’s actions caused an injury because the patients admitted for care are already ill. Again, other experts in the field are helpful in determining if it was likely an injury was due to a health professional’s negligence.
Next, individuals must prove that the injury resulted in a loss. Loss may include a variety of consequences, such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Pain and suffering
Many damages are verified with documents indicating exact dollar amounts. However, other types of loss cannot be quantified easily. When do you need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer? If you believe you have a valid case, it is best to contact an attorney rather than trying to represent yourself. A lawyer knows the true value of your case.
The medical malpractice lawsuit process is complicated, and having the advice of a law professional is advised. Many patients choose to settle out of court, but with the proper preparations, victims of medical negligence can receive damages of over $1 million.
Spot Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be difficult to spot, as many professionals may try to cover their tracks. If you’re trying to gather evidence that malpractice has occurred, look for conflicting information, rushed appointments, and a lack of education about your condition.
When medical malpractice occurs, you or your loved one don’t need to suffer alone due to a doctor’s negligence. There are ways to seek compensation, and ensuring you have the elements for a strong case is the first step toward justice.